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Abandoned Mascot

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For Bosko, that was all, folks.

"And McDonald's gave your job to a box with a face! Left you behind, like a quiet kid in a Play Place!"
Wendy (the Wendy's mascot) to Ronald McDonald, Epic Rap Battles of History
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Series Mascots are usually consistent for decades on end, however eventually many works or companies will replace their mascot. It's not uncommon to even go through multiple mascots throughout their lifespan.

Why mascots get replaced varies. Sometimes the original mascot is too outdated and/or offensive, so they're replaced instead of redesigned. At other times, a new mascot is created for a retool, rebranding, or marketing change. Often times the old mascot is just outshined by a newer Breakout Character who ends up becoming the successor mascot. Replacing mascots is more common with advertisements than in other media, however this still pops up in various mediums.

This can be an example of Early Installment Weirdness if the older mascot is replaced early enough in the franchise's history. Much more rarely manifests as Later Installment Weirdness, which happens in emergency cases if the former mascot becomes tainted with controversy and has to be scrapped to save face. Compare Chuck Cunningham Syndrome, Demoted to Extra, and What Happened to the Mouse?.

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Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • GEICO has a tendency to hedge betting on their mascots' viability:
    • The GEICO Cavemen are likely the most famous example, having been a mascot to rival the gecko for a few years, getting a brief series for a half-season, and then disappearing without a trace.
    • Maxwell the Pig was last seen on June 11, 2014. He is presumed retired, as his only social media presence is run by fans.
  • Host Cereals:
    • Honeycomb rarely has a mascot, but when it did, it was the bizarre CGI character Crazy Craving. It lives on in peoples' memories, just not on the airwaves.
    • Back in the 1960s was the Honeycomb Kid. His fate was sealed with the demise of the Spaghetti Western.
  • Erin Esurance, a pink haired spy, was a mascot to the auto insurance company Esurance. She was used for several years in the 2000s. Erin was retired due to the company not liking all the Rule 34 and other less-than-family-friendly content based around her online.
  • While the long-running mascot for Lucky Charms is Lucky the Leprechaun, back in 1975 there was an alternate mascot called Waldo the Wizard. He was only seen in the New England section of the USA, and lasted less than a year.
  • McDonald's:
    • In the early years, McDonald's had a mascot named "Speedee", a chef-like character with a hamburger for a head. He was named for their fast, "Speedee Service System", and appeared primarily on signage. He was replaced by Ronald McDonald in 1967, presumably to avoid confusion with Alka-Seltzer's own "Speedy"; the book Chew On This, which chronicles the history of the fast food industry, quipped that McDonald's patrons probably didn't want to have to worry about taking Speedy's antacids right after eating Speedie's food.
    • The classic McDonaldland characters such as Birdie, Hamburglar, and Grimace were dropped in 2003, shortly after The Wacky Adventures Of Ronald Mc Donald was released. They were replaced with the "I'm lovin' it" campaign due to decreased popularity. Despite McDonaldland being discarded, the characters still appear in some of the kid's sections of restaurants. A Hotter and Sexier Hamburglar was briefly brought back in 2015 to promote a new burger.
    • In the 2010s, Ronald McDonald himself has largely been retired due to the controversies surrounding the company marketing junk food towards children (as well as the fact that clowns are increasingly seen as scary rather than funny). He's been mostly replaced by an animated Happy Meal box called "Happy" for now.
    • Mac Tonight was a popular late 1980s ad campaign featuring a humanoid mascot with a moon-shaped head of the same name. The campaign was done away in 1989 when McDonald's was sued for plagiarism. He was temporarily brought back in America for a 1996-1997 ad campaign and in a 2007 for a CGI South East Asian ad campaign. Mac Tonight statues remained in some stores for years, but most were removed in the 2010s when a racist internet meme revitalized the character in a negative manner.
  • Hostess snack cakes had an array of long-gone mascots, each of whom assumed the shape of their respective product. Twinkies had the cowboy-like Twinkie the Kid, Fruit Pies had Fruit Pie the Magician, and Hostess Cupcakes had a seafaring Captain Cupcake. Less prominent was the Robin Hood-like Happy Ho Ho, mascot for Hostess Ho Hos. But more complex was Ding-Dong's mascot, since the product was formerly known as King Dons and Big Wheels in different parts of the USA. There were the similar King Don and King Ding Dong (with at least one commercial the same, except the name), but for Big Wheels, you had a (stereotypical-looking) American Indian — Chief Big Wheel.
  • The Frito Bandito was the mascot for Fritos corn chips from 1967-1971. Most sources say that he was abandoned due to the obvious political incorrectness of the character, though others say that most Mexicans liked him (see also Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales). He was replaced by W.C. Fritos, who didn't last very long.
  • ask.com used to have Jeeves - they were originally "Ask Jeeves", after all. Jeeves would be retired in 2006 when the site was rebranded to ask.com.
  • Quaker Cereals:
    • Cap'n Crunch had a bunch of other mascots he shared the box with until the late 80s. The cereals then dropped the secondary mascots and just kept the Cap'n. These would include Wilma the Vanilla Whale, the Crunch Berry Beast, and the Soggies.
    • Quisp & Quake were two rivaling cereal mascots who occasionally cameoed in other Quaker Oats ads. Quisp was a space alien who gave kids quazy energy, while Quake was a miner/cowboy superhero. Quisp won in a landslide, and Quake fell by the wayside.
  • Ralston Purina —> General Mills:
    • Cookie Crisp went through a handful as well:
      • 70s, Cookie Jarvis the wizard was first.
      • 80s. Followed by Cookie Crook and Cookie Cop with Chip the Dog. Their shtick was that Cookie Crook and Chip's heists were always ruined because Chip would howl when he found the cereal, giving themselves away.
      • 90s, Followed by Chip the Dog by himself, howling the name of the cereal.
      • 2000s, Followed by Chip the Wolf who howls the name of the cereal.
      • 2000s, Followed by a new iteration of Chip the Wolf who no longer howls. His original design also wore a red hoodie and blue pants but the later version is naked.
      • In some countries, Chip is replaced with a panther mascot. No, really.
  • Throughout the 1970s, Milton the Toaster was the mascot for Kellogg's Pop Tarts toaster pastries.
  • Before Nesquik's Quicky was used worldwide, locals mascots were sometimes used, like Groquik until 1990. At one point, even Adam West was a mascot (as "Captain Quik")!
  • The bubble gum brand Malabar used Mr. Malabar until 2011, when he was replaced by Younger and Hipper cat Mabulle. He tends to be hated by nostalgics.
  • In 1973, Duracell created an ad where several battery-powered drumming bunnies would run down one by one, leaving only the Duracell-powered one. That bunny became Duracell's mascot in the following years, but its trademark expired in the U.S. by 1988 and rival Energizer took the opportunity to create a parody of the 1973 ad featuring their own bunny mascot. Duracell tried to revive their own bunny mascot, leading to a trademark dispute between the two companies which ended in a settlement where the "bunny mascot" rights were given to Energizer in North America and to Duracell elsewhere. Therefore, Duracell abandoned its bunny mascot in North America in favor of The Puttermans (an Uncanny Valley Robo Family which lasted from 1994 to 1997) while Energizer introduced the Energizer Man (an anthropomorphic battery) for usage outside North America. Before introducing the Energizer Bunny, the company had Mark "Jacko" Jackson, which lasted from 1987 to 1988 in the U.S. but lasted a few years longer in Australia due to his popularity there.
  • Fast food chain Jack In The Box used to have clown mascots (not so much specific characters as general theming), but got rid of them in 1980 (with explosives) in order to reposition themselves as a more mature brand. The concept returned as part of a rebranding in 1994, which introduced "Jack Box" as the company's high-powered CEO who just happens to have a giant clown head.
  • Burger King:
    • The Burger King used to be a stereotypical medieval monarch with a surrounding royal court, but was phased out in the 80's. Like with Jack, the King was later re-imagined as a more mature figure in 2004, only in the King's case it was done by making him unsettlingly weird. This version was retired in 2011 for being a little too weird, but the trope became subverted when he returned in 2015 (though not as prominently as before).
    • The Burger King Kids Club Gang was created in 1989 to succeed the King and lasted until 2005. They were replaced with the Honbatz. The Honbatz have also been discontinued outside of New Zealand and some European markets.
  • Coca-Cola once had the Sprite Boy, who was introduced to denote that "Coke" and "Coca-Cola" are the same thing. He was phased out in 1958. He wasn't truly forgotten, though, as he has fans as well as an exhibit in the Coca-Cola museum.
  • Some of the cigarette companies in the 1990s used cartoony mascots. Many, including the PSA Smoke Alarm: The Unfiltered Truth About Cigarettes, accused the companies of targeting children with their marketing. As a result, mascots like Joe Camel were eventually dropped.
  • In the 1980's, Domino's Pizza had the Noid, a humanoid creature whose purpose is to promote their 30 Minute Guarantee, where people were promised to receive their deliveries within a half-hour, otherwise they'd be charged less for it (or not at all, when the deal started out before the Noid's creation). The Noid, along with the deal, was retired when too many rushed deliveries resulted in accidents and lawsuits, as well as an incident where a deranged man named Kenneth Lamar Noid took employees hostage because he felt the commercials were attacking him personally. In 1998, Domino's had a short-lived mascot, Dr. Cravin, an action figure who stalked Domino's delivery people by bike or car. His commercials were done in a style similar to the Action League Now shorts on KaBlam!, using a mix of live action and stop-motion. In 2000, they had another short-lived mascot named Bad Andy, a mischievous monkey puppet who made things difficult for a group of characters dubbed the Domino's Crew (consisting of Jeff, Anthony, Carla, and the manager, Charlie). He was dropped after their 2001 Cinna Stix promotion.
  • In the 1980s, Bud Light beer had a mascot called Spuds MacKenzie. He was a cute dog in wacky commercials, so many people thought the company was trying to attract kids (it didn't help that there were plush toys of him). After a lot of negative press and legal trouble, Spud was abandoned.
  • In 2009, the video game store chain GameStop (EB Games in other areas) began using a profane Funny Animal rabbit mascot named Buck Bunny that made fun of 2D platformers. He had an elaborate lore about how he began on an Atari title called Bunny's Big Adventure and soon became the most popular mascot in gaming (even more so than Mario). But Buck's popularity dwindled between the 8-bit and 16-bit eras and this led to his downward spiral into poverty, alcoholism, and prostitution. Buck stayed in his rut until GameStop asked him to be in commercials in 2009. The meta story, however, is just that Buck started out in an ad parodying platformers called "Bunny Money" and he became so popular that he was soon made into their mascot. In 2012, Buck was retired in North America but, as of 2018, he still exists in other regions (such as Australia, New Zealand, and Switzerland). In his modern form, several areas use a cutesy Lighter and Softer Buck meant to appeal to kids.
  • In the 80s, Cinnamon Toast Crunch had three bakers as their mascots. By the time the 90s rolled around, the head baker, Wendell, remained while the other two disappeared. Around the 2010s, Wendell was gradually phased out as well, having not appeared in a commercial for several years, and was eventually removed from the cereal boxes. In his place, the cereal's current mascots are sapient cereal pieces (known as "Crazy Squares") who are prone to eating each other.
  • Coco Krispies went through a variety of mascots before Snap, Crackle and Pop of Rice Krispies took over that cereal as well.
  • Robertson's jam in the UK used a golliwog character from 1910 until 2001. Campaigns to "bring the golliwog back to Robertson's jam" regularly go viral, despite the fact that Robertson's doesn't even make jam anymore (since 2012 it has been purely a marmalade brand).
  • 2002 introduced a mascot for the Playhouse Disney block on Disney Channel. He was talking blob of clay called "Clay". Clay was eventually dropped when the block went through a rebranding.
  • Nickelodeon's mascot in the mid-to-late '90s was Stick Stickly, a talking popsicle stick with a face on it. He hosted various blocks and promotions on the network and even recieved a few TV specials (Oh, Brother! and Stuck). He was retired after 1998, but was brought back on NickRewind during the "The '90s Are All That" and "The Splat" brandings of the block.
    • Replacing Stick Stickly in 1999 were Henry and June of KaBlam!, having them serve as the hosts of various programming blocks on the network as well as the "Nicktoon World News" segments. Nickelodeon retired them in 2001 (a year after KaBlam! had ended) and unlike Stick Sticky, have not been revived since.
  • Similarly, Noggin, a edutainment channel by Nickelodeon, had a small blue circle-creature named Feetface as its mascot for its first few years. Feetface would be replaced in 2002 by Moose A. Moose and Zee the blue jay, who still serve as the mascots for the channel today.
  • During the creation of StarKist Tuna, the mascot on the packages was of a fisherman with an earring. Starting with commercials in the 1960s, Charlie the Tuna was introduced, yet the fisherman remained on the package. By the 1980s, Charlie had become the full mascot on both the advertisements and the commercials, replacing the fisherman entirely.

    Comic Books 
  • MLJ Comics's original mascot was the patriotic superhero The Shield. However their smash hit Archie Comics series was so successful, not only did Archie become their mascot, but MLJ changed their name to Archie Comics. The Shield languished and became a public domain character, however Archie has made attempts to revitalize the character since the 1990s.

    Film — Animation 
  • The tin soldier from the Tin Toy short was Pixar's first mascot. He was even going to have a Christmas Special at one point. Eventually he was phased out and replaced with the lamp on their Vanity Plate, Luxo Jr from the short Luxo Jr..
  • In-Universe with King and Boss in Isle of Dogs, for King was the star of twenty-two dog food commercials and Boss was the mascot of a high school baseball team before all the city's dogs were put on Trash Island.
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    Live Action TV 

    Sports 
  • The Golden State Warriors had starting in the mid-90s the superhero Thunder, who was even in the team logo. Then the Seattle franchise was relocated and renamed Oklahoma City Thunder, and for obvious reasons Thunder had to go.
  • The National Hockey League has three cases of abandoned but inherited mascots:
    • Youppi!, the orange-furred mascot of the Montreal Expos created by Muppet designer Bonnie Erickson, was sent his walking papers when the Expos moved to Washington, DC and became the Nationals. He was promptly picked up by the Montreal Canadiens.
    • The Arena Football League's New York Dragons played in the same Nassau Coliseum as the New York Islanders. Once the team folded, mascot Sparky the Dragon remained with the Islanders.
    • Winnipeg had the minor league Manitoba Moose. Once the beloved Winnipeg Jets returned, the Moose relocated but mascot Mick E. Moose stayed for the Jets. And in an amusing case, the Moose eventually came back, even playing in the same arena as their major league affiliate!
  • A straight example from the NHL involves the Philadelphia Flyers. The first time that the Flyers tried introducing a mascot was in 1976, named Slapshot. He was an orange, muppet-like creature with weird eyes and dressed like a hockey player, but he was largely unmemorable - outside of some stray merchandise from his debut, he was quickly forgotten and retired after merely a single season of use. The team then went over 40 years before trying again... with Gritty, who is also an orange, muppet-like creature with weird eyes and dressed like a hockey player (the main difference, outside of Slapshot not wearing pants/a shirt, is that Gritty is considerably more, well, gritty).

    Toys 
  • The mascot to My Little Pony changes each gen. In the original G1 line from the 1980s, Firefly was the unofficial mascot. G2 didn't have one due to being unpopular outside of Europe. Ever since G3, Pinkie Pie has been the mascot that is featured on most merchandise (being pink and bubbly, despite Twilight Sparkle being G4's main character).
  • Monster High initially positioned Frankie Stein as the face of the Franchise, with the first collectors doll being a variation of her signature look. However, that position got slowly taken over by Draculaura (who, like Pinkie Pie, was pink and bubbly). The 2016 reboot made it official and swapped out Frankie for Draculaura as the franchise's mascot.

    Video Games 
  • Sega:
    • Sega's first mascot was the ship from Fantasy Zone, Opa-Opa, however eventually it was replaced with the protagonist of Alex Kidd. However Alex Kidd never became that successful, especially outside of Japan. For the Sega Mega Drive, Sega conceived a new mascot to go against Nintendo's Super Mario Bros.. Sonic the Hedgehog quickly replaced Alex Kidd and Sonic has been Sega's mascot ever since. Alex has appeared in a few cameo roles over the years but hasn't received a new game since the Mega Drive era.
    • Opa-Opa was Sega's first official mascot, but their first unofficial mascot was Professor Asobin, a Funny Animal rabbit who showed up in manuals for SG-1000 games to offer advice to the players. He was later replaced with Alex Kidd as well.
  • Microsoft intended for Blinx to be their mascot for their new Xbox franchise of gaming consoles. Blinx was a cute Mascot with Attitude cat meant to attract younger gamers. However, the game ended up bombing. Blinx was a Stillborn Franchise with only one sequel. The Xbox's flagship title instead ended up being Halo, with its main character Master Chief becoming the Xbox mascot. Master Chief helped solidify the view of Xbox as a console for older audiences, in contrast to Sony's and especially Nintendo's more family-friendly images.
  • Unlike its competition, the PlayStation brand doesn't have a concrete mascot (barring a Japanese-only cat mascot). It instead has a series of popular characters who all work as mascots, some official and some unofficially. Most of these mascots only last a few years before being demoted:
    • The brand's first attempt at a mascot was Polygon Man, a purple, spiky-haired Flying Face constructed of polygons meant to represent the console's 3D capabilities. After a single showing at E3 and a negative reaction from PlayStation creator Ken Kutaragi, he was quickly and quietly dropped as a mascot and never seen nor heard until 2012 where he came back as the final boss in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Though he specifically didn't like the way Polygon Man looked, Kutaragi was opposed to the brand having any kind of mascot, as he felt a mascot would dictate what kinds of games would be popular on the console, when he instead intended his console to be a blank canvas where developers and gamers could make and play any kind of games they wanted.
    • Crash Bandicoot was the PlayStation's answer to Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog. He was an incredibly popular character in both western countries and Japan (a rare feat for a western character) and was created as a Kid-Appeal Character to get younger gamers to buy a PlayStation. Crash's time as a mascot only lasted a few years though. Crash Bandicoot was never actually owned by Sony, he was owned by Universal, and later owned by Activision, Naughty Dog stopped working on the franchise right when the PlayStation 2 was being released. Crash Bandicoot became a multiplat series afterwards before fading after the release of Mind Over Mutant in 2008. It was revived in the 2010s but is still multiplat.
    • Spyro the Dragon came out a few years after Crash and shared its status as a mascot, albeit to a far lesser degree. Similarly to Crash Bandicoot, it only lasted three main titles under its creators before they moved on due to wanting to make a main character who could use guns. It became mutiplat and eventually faded after the The Legend of Spyro Continuity Reboot, with only cameos in Skylanders (which was conceived as a Spyro MMO before becoming a separate franchise) afterwards, until Spyro Reignited Trilogy revived it.
    • Parappa The Rapper was a brightly coloured, kid-friendly rhythm title. It received a spinoff, a sequel on the PS2, and even an anime but couldn't quite become the main PlayStation mascot. Despite the fact he hasn't had a new title in years (bar rereleases), Parappa pops up every once in a while nevertheless, such as appearing in Play Station All Stars Battle Royale.
    • LittleBigPlanet's protagonist, Sackboy, was the mascot of the PlayStation 3 but dropped off with the PlayStation 4.
    • Knack was a failed attempt at a mascot for the PS4. The game didn't have a positive enough reception to become popular.
    • The character of Captain Blasto, from the game Blasto, was being set up by Sony to be a potential mascot after his game was released on the original PlayStation. Despite the game's lukewarm reception, the character himself was well-liked, given he was voiced by comedian Phil Hartman, who was also the head creative. Sony already green-lit a sequel and plans for a cartoon and merchandise. However, this ended up being a very heartbreaking example of this trope, as Hartman's infamous death occurred two months after the game's release. Since Hartman was an influential part of the game's development and the character, the developers felt there was no point in making a franchise without him and cancelled those plans, so Captain Blasto's time as a mascot ended before it truly began.
  • Pokémon's original mascot is assumed to have been intended to be Clefairy. Pikachu, a more gender-neutral but equally cute character, ended up surpassing it as the mascot at the last minute. Ash in the Pokémon anime was intended to receive a Clefairy starter but ended up with a Pikachu instead. Red from the Pocket Monsters manga (the longest-running adaptation of the series) owns both a Clefairy and a Pikachu as a reference to how Clefairy was the original mascot.
  • K.K. Slider was the original mascot of Animal Crossing franchise. The fourth title, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, introduced the protagonist's secretary, Isabelle. Isabelle quickly became a Breakout Character and surpassed K.K. Slider as the series' mascot, though he is still prominently featured in merchandising. Both K.K. and Isabelle are Funny Animal dog characters, but Isabelle is cuter and quirkier. She became a playable character in Mario Kart 8, which greatly increased her popularity, and when Isabelle became a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, her role as the series mascot was sealed.
  • Capcom had various mascots during its history:
    • The first one was Captain Commando, (note that the first three letters of each word forms the word "CapCom"), from the game Captain Commando as well as the NES game Section Z. He has gone on to appear in many of Capcom's fighting games, including Marvel vs. Capcom. Mega Man is now considered to be Capcom's mascot, because of the large amount of games in the franchise and the popularity of the franchise. Ryu, from Street Fighter, could also be considered one of Capcom's mascots, but he is more thought of as the face of the Street Fighter franchise and the face of Capcom's fighting games.
    • The Yashichi is an item that appears in many of Capcom's games. Usually, it acts as health restoration or a power-up. It is a red circle that has something resembling a pinwheel on it. The Yashichi was first in Capcom's very first game, Vulgus, as an enemy, and has gone on to appear in Mega Man and many other games (albeit with a more helpful role).

    Web Original 
  • The aforementioned fact that Ronald McDonald is replaced by Happy the Happy Meal box is discussed in-universe in Epic Rap Battles of History's "Ronald McDonald vs The Burger King"; specifically it's delivered as a jab from surprise third-party rapper Wendy (of Wendy's fame) towards Ronald (as seen on the page quote above).

    Western Animation 
  • Walt Disney started out with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit as his first flagship animated character. Oswald was on his way to becoming an iconic cartoon character like Felix the Cat, however Disney lost the rights to Oswald after creating only a few shorts for him. Oswald continued to have shorts written by others however they weren't as popular as Disney's and Oswald was discontined by the 1940s. After Disney lost the rights to Oswald and his wife Ortensia he created two Suspiciously Similar Substitutes, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. They were hits and would soon eclipse Oswald and Ortensia. Mickey ended up becoming the most iconic cartoon character within a few decades. Almost a century after Walt Disney lost the rights to Oswald, the Disney company brought him back and revived him with the video game Epic Mickey. He, his wife, and their many children have appeared in cameos since then, and are even characters at Disney theme parks.
  • Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes series went through a series of mascots to counter Disney's aforementioned Mickey. The early shorts first introduced Bosko, a similar blackface style Everyman character, though, like Oswald, creators and rights led to the character being traded to a rival animation company, MGM. The later character, Beans the Cat was intended to be the next attempt at a mascot, but his sidekick Porky Pig trounced him in popularity. Porky's mascot status lasted for a while until the staff eventually conceived a smartalec Karmic Trickster by the name of Bugs Bunny, who quickly surpassed Porky in popularity and became the face for Looney Tunes from there on out.
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